By Capt. Adam V. CartierSeptember 5, 2017
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Engineers from across Hawaii had multiple reasons to celebrate over the summer, with the Engineer Regiment and 130th Engineer Brigade Birthday Runs occurring between June 15 and July 21 2017. More than 1,000 Engineer Soldiers from across Oahu gathered for each event.
The Regimental Birthday Run started on Hamilton Field, Schofield Barracks to celebrate the 242nd Birthday of the Engineer Branch at the annual Pacific Army Engineer Muster Run on June 15; upholding the traditions of the Engineer Regiment, as well as building esprit de corps among units that typically do not train together.
The unique event traces back to Lt. Gen. Robert B. Flowers, the 50th Chief of Engineers, with the purpose of maintaining the total number of individuals in the regiment by creating the Regimental Rolls name listing and Muster Card documentation program. Engineer Soldiers gathered from the 84th & 65th Engineer Battalions, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 130th Engineer Brigade and Alpha Company, 249th Prime Power Battalion to stand shoulder to shoulder, demonstrating the cohesiveness of the Engineer Regiment.
The event started with Command Sgt. Maj. Patrickson Toussaint yelling "fall in." The formation responded with a loud "Essayons," the motto of the Engineer Regiment, French for "let us try." Engineers have played a significant role from the Revolutionary War to current conflicts around the globe during which numerous lives have been lost. Prior to the run, a roll call and a moment of silence were held in honor of the fallen engineers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The commander of the 130th Engineer Brigade, Col. Danielle Ngo, led the formation on a three and a half mile run through Schofield Barracks. The sound of the Engineers' "Lay, Ho, Heave," was heard throughout the installation.
After the run Ngo issued an Engineer Regimental Muster card to all Soldiers in attendance. As she handed out the cards Ngo remarked, "these cards are a permanent record of registration to the regimental rolls, demonstrating that you volunteered to serve alongside your engineer corps brothers and sisters."
The event ended with the oldest and youngest engineer Soldiers joining the 130th Engineer Brigade command team to cut the celebratory birthday cake.
"The muster run is a great opportunity to come together in celebration with fellow engineers in Hawaii that we don't necessarily get to see on a day-to-day basis," said Capt. Michael Caddigan, a plans officer with the 25th Infantry Division. "It really demonstrates the unity we all feel as engineer Soldiers."
Area X-Ray was full of engineer equipment as Soldiers gathered again on July 21 for the Brigade's 74th Birthday, this time with family members and pets in tow. Ahead of the runners lay several displays which exposed runners to the sound of machine gun fire and smoke obscuration. One of the events was a casualty lane, demonstrating for the runners the sounds of an explosion before witnessing the Soldiers of the brigade evacuate two wounded individuals.
Returning to the start point motivated, the units reformed their ranks and prepared for a slice of birthday cake. There was a twist to this cake cutting event as the Brigade command team didn't think that a saber demonstrated the breadth of engineer capabilities. Command Sgt. Major Patrickson Toussaint, the brigade's senior enlisted advisor, called forth a Soldier with a chainsaw to do the honors. Once the cake was cut, family members present enjoyed a hands-on demonstration of various engineer equipment, ranging from manipulating robots to sitting in the driver's seat of heavy construction equipment.